It’s my 50th Birthday and I’m Giving away 50 Gifts!

The gate to my backyard party!

This has been an incredible year for Maria Killam Inc. so far! We had five sold-out Specify Colour with Confidence events in Austin, Toronto, 2 in Chicago, finishing off our Spring lineup in San Francisco! I’m so thrilled and grateful at the response from participants all over the country!

I just received an email from someone who said he’s working with 2 designers trained by me and he needed a lead on a third designer because he said ‘Colour experts trained by you are the Best’. High praise indeed!

To celebrate my 50th birthday, I am giving away 50 gifts including one ticket to my Specify Colour with Confidence workshop this Fall including hotels and airfare! Stay tuned until the end of this post for all the details!

When Terreeia asked what I wanted for my 50th birthday I said, a garden party with my friends. Since catering and events was what Terreeia did before she became an executive coach and consultant, she was in her element when planning the party.

She went back and forth with the caterer until he was asking “Who the heck is this woman?” until he arrived at our home and then he got it, haha.

It rained all week, but we have a large covered deck so we weren’t that worried, but miraculously, the sun came out on Sunday afternoon, just in time for the party.

It would have been even more amazing if the garden had been in full bloom, but we have had a very cold and rainy Spring, so all the blooms are behind.

Nevertheless, the garden was lush, green and gorgeous because of the eDesign project I did 4 years ago, long distance with my Landscape Designer MaryAnne White.

Terreeia rented chairs and tables for the garden (above). This garden looked very different 5 years ago when we first took possession of this house. For those of you that missed the before & after transformation, go here.

We even had live music (below). It was very civilized to hear a violin playing in the background. This was a brother and sister duo, their company is called West Coast Strings.

Related post: Maria Killam’s White Garden Transformation: Before & After

The Veuve and prosecco was out for the party!

And here is a photo from the other side of the garden (below):

Maria and Terreeia

My lovely client Deborah and her husband Paul (above) arrived just in time for the seafood spread! We are working on their house right now. I helped Deborah with the colours for her kitchen before we started the transformation of the rest of her house.

Anyway, I loved her new hood fan so much, that when it was installed, I decided to get the identical one made for my kitchen this summer. Here is a glimpse of her hood fan on my Instagram page. It will be installed at the same time as my bathroom vanities during the renovation.

The beautiful food was catered by Design by Desire. They did a great job and not only was the food pretty, it was delicious!

The only food item that Terreeia made were the devilled eggs. Because they were a 60s thing.

Maria & Terreeia (pronounced Maria with a T)

The gorgeous daisy cake was made by Wendy at Cakeaters in Burnaby. One layer was lemon and the other was chocolate, it was so good!

Apparently I needed help blowing out 3 candles! Love this picture of the two of us!

I bought the white lace skirt the day before at Joe Fresh because I had no time to shop before this weekend. It also came in Navy.



Here I am cutting the cake (above), Markus is beside me with Patti, and then my decorator friend Nancy DeVries who is also a True Colour Expert (she lives in North Vancouver) and her husband Brad and my sister Lea on the far right.

My good friend Dale is standing on the left in this pic (above) and there’s my sweet sister Elizabeth (@juicygreengirl)

Here I am with my sweet nephews Markus and William

My Mom and her long-time friend Beatriz hanging out on the sectional.

One of Terreeia’s dear friends Patti!

My sweet friend Amber Welton had everyone in stitches when she told the story of how we first met and how I told her I would mentor her and teach her everything she needed to know about design and colour. Obviously I loved her instantly!

I got Amber a job at both the Benjamin Moore stores that I had worked in (and got fired in) and I had forgotten that she used to call me DURING her consultations, when she would arrive at a house that was decor-challenged and she would have no idea what to do.

She’d tell her client that she was going upstairs to get a ‘feel for the house’ and she’d go into a closet and call me:

“Maria, I need you, I am in this house with pink beige fireplaces and gold ceilings, I have no idea what to do”. I’d give her colours and she’d go back downstairs and say “Well, I’ve taken a look around, and out of the thousands of colours in my deck, this is THE one.”

Amber is one of the funniest women I know and I’m so happy that she is one of my dear friends!

Terry Shein is Terreeia’s best friend (above). They’ve known each other for 30 years and he was the MC at my party.  He created this fun Jeopardy game and ya’ll can guess what the answer is to this question!

Photography by Sarah St. Pierre

James Wiens my new fabulous artist friend here in Chilliwack, is painting a custom piece of art for me with peonies in all the colours of my living room but in the meantime, I have a gorgeous placeholder here in my living room (above left).

I’m starting my giveaway with one of his beautiful paintings. It’s a framed 12″ x 12″ original, value $350. If you are interested in being in the draw for the artwork  as well as anything else (below) please note that in the comments below:

Value $350

Okay here’s the list of gifts I’m giving away to celebrate my birthday and to celebrate YOU:

  1. One seat in one of my Specify Colour with Confidence events this Fall. Airfare and 3 nights in the Hotel is included. Open to North Americans only, and limited to the course of your country. So if you live in Canada, that means you’re flying to Vancouver. (Value, approximately $4000)

2. Two sets of my Large Paint Samples – Core Collection (Value $297 each)

3. Two sets of my Large Paint Samples – VIP Collection (Value $297 each)

4. 15 Renovate (and New Build) with Confidence webinars (which is the closest to my live training)

         Value $497 each

5. 10 How to Choose Exterior Colours with Confidence (Value $297)

5. 10 How to Choose Paint Colours; It’s all in the Undertones eBooks(Value $37 each)

6. 10 White is Complicated; A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White  eBooks(Value $37 each)

Prizes may not be redeemed for cash.

To be eligible to win, please post a comment below and let me know the best lesson you’ve learned from my blog, that would be an amazing gift for my 50th birthday!  To be entered a second time, follow me on Instagram too and I will add you in the draw again (or if you already follow me on Instagram make sure you note that in the comments). I will draw the winners on Canada’s 150 birthday on July 1.

I really love my readers, thank you so much for supporting me, posting comments, because of you, my world is so much more enriched!


Related posts:

My One Big Secret you Don’t Know (When I introduced Terreeia on the blog)

The First Mistake a New Colour Consultant will Make Every Time (My 42nd Birthday post)

My Favourite Birthday Weekend in June 2013 (my sod got installed–hooray)



leave aREPLY

  1. Happy 50th birthday! The best lesson I’ve learned from your blog isn’t actually about color or design. It is about living an authentic life and being passionate about what you do. I also love your honesty and find it extremely refreshing. “The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” – Ben Okri

  2. I’m new to this side of the industry (I’ve been on the soul sucking construction finance & operations management side for over 20 years). While I work with an incredible team of people and a company anyone would love to be a part of, a battle with cancer helped me see that I needed a change. When a dear friend in Hawaii asked me to partner with her in a staging and design company I didn’t have to think twice about it. I am so excited that I have found you and now follow you in every format available (including Instagram).
    Everything about color has me all excited and I have been reading all of your blogs. Thus far I’ve learned two valuable lessons. First, I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn, pink beiges, yellow beiges, whites, whites and more whites, oh my! The good news is I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.
    The second and most practical lesson I’ve learned thus far is, “buy the yellow shoes”. Yes, yellow shoes. I couldn’t decide between red and yellow for a fun pair of shoes and I’ve been agonizing over it for while. The easy answer of course is get both but I’m relocating and trying to use some self discipline. I looked through your amazing birthday photos and you guessed it, I bought the yellow shoes. One decision down, a lifetime of them to go. Thanks for being a part of it & happy belated birthday!

  3. Hi Maria,

    Your birthday celebration looked amazing! Hope you continue to celebrate throughout the year.

    I’ve learned SO many things! I only wish I would have found you before we built our house. Some of the lessons I’ve learned are: white is complicated; it is all about the undertones; white is classic/timeless; avoid those darn pink undertones; and the importance of working with colour boards.

    Thank you Maria for generously sharing your expertise over the years! I feel fortunate to have found your website!

    Again, Happy Belated 50th Birthday!

  4. I have learned that I love colour. And I love that you say it is okay to buy something as large as a couch in the colour that you love. This makes me happy!
    I am also very happy to know I am not the only person obsessed with undertones, I found a place where I belong!
    Happy birthday!

  5. Dear Maria! The best lesson I learned from you is to…
    be passionate, follow your heart AND remember don`t rely on itty bitty paint chips to pick a color – go big!
    And yes, I do follow you on instagram!

  6. I’ve learned how to make the best of the colors you can’t change. It’s easy to tell someone to start from scratch, but much harder to work with limitations. Thanks for being realistic!

  7. Happy Birthday Maria. I am following your blog, Instagram and have your website bookmarked as one of my reads for professional development. I am a new designer to the Vancouver area and am loving your posts and the information you share. As you can see from my website I need a little more colour in my designs…The most helpful information to me has been your undertones theory. I am trying to pay attention to it and love your posts that challenge your readers to identify the mistakes in the pictures. I also have taken to heart your advice on the pattern and solid surfaces in design choices. So simple but so sensible to save me making costly mistakes! Thank you for your generosity in sharing. – Elaine Lowes, Laine Design

  8. Aloha Maria,
    Hau`oli Lā Hānau! as we say here in Hawaii. I love your blog and your posts are the first thing I read when one shows up in my inbox. I’ve learned so much from you about undertones and staying timeless in the hard surfaces. I love that you share with your readers and ask for our opinions.

    Your post about white subway tile was perfect timing for our kitchen back splash.

    Now for the exterior color of the house. With strong sunlight, lots of colorful plants and a 1950’s Hawaiian, single wall constructed house, it’s a bit of a challenge. I wish I had discovered you when I lived in CA, going to one of your seminars would have been easier. Winning anything would be awesome but “How to chose exterior colors with confidence” would be especially timely.

    Loved the pictures of your birthday party. It looked so beautiful, the food looked amazing and everyone looked like they were having a great time especially you! Mahalo nui

  9. kathleen ricciardelli

    Such a lovely celebration!

    Maria, I appreciate your powerful lesson that while ‘timeless’ may feel boring when selecting foundational design elements, it gives one’s home a harmonious and classic sense of well being….and so sustainably flexible!

    Love following you on Instagram and your Instagram stories! @cadallina56 Thank you for your amazing authenticity, integrity and courage. You have such an empowering energy and you give us the gift in how you serve the world. Thank you and have a great 50th year!

  10. 1. Pick a color—white or cream. You can’t have both (unless you have Maria’s eye). My house is a cream house, so introducing lots of white will not feel right. My white sofa is actually cream.
    2. The sofa pillow test—walk the house with it. If it can be placed in each room, you have flow.
    3. You are money. I sent the first paint boards to my daughter as a housewarming gift. She painted the interior and decorated accordingly. After her effort of 25K, the appraiser bumper the appraisal up 50K. By the way, her house is a “white” based house. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARIA

  11. Hi Maria. I am relatively new to your blog but so happy I found it since it contains so much useful information! You ask for 1 thing I learned, but it’s hard to only choose 1! But here is my “duh” moment – you must see your whites against a sample of pure white to be able to correctly determine undertones. Seems obvious right?! I would always compare all my proposed whites against each other (and that is important) and against any fixed elements, but not against a swatch of pure white. Love all the photos you post. And I find your posts on using social media to be very helpful. Your party and yard look absolutely beautiful! And that cake!!! I already have your 2 e-books and your tutorial on choosing outdoor colors. Thanks so much – I look forward to many more posts to come.

  12. First off Happy Belated 50th Maria! I usually read your blog posts as soon as you publish them but a major project this June has put me wayyyyyyyy behind. Fortunately, that project finished up in time for me to kick back, catch up on your blog and celebrate my turning 55 on July 1 as Canada turns 150!

    I’ve been a loyal follower of your blog from the very beginning. Over the years I’ve learned many things related to both colour and design from reading and re-reading your posts, the comments, and of course your ebooks such as:
    1.) Stick with the tried and true classics for “permanent” cabinetry and hard finishes such as tile, flooring and countertops.
    2.) Treat hardwood flooring like jeans.
    3.) A better understanding of undertones and a system to employ so as not to be overwhelmed and intimidated when choosing colors.
    4.) White will not make a dark room brighter.

    I could go on and on.

    But aside from what I’ve learned, I’m most grateful for the personal inspiration I’ve gotten from seeing you create a vision for your life and business, formulate a plan and tirelessly pursue your dreams and goals. I’m just thrilled and inspired watching what you’ve been able to create and achieve. You embody and live the Henry David Thoreau quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”

    Over the past several years I’ve been confronted with major life events: job loss, being a full time care giver for elderly Mom and Dad, the death of my Dad and then my Mom, and finally a subsequent unexpected, out of the blue serious illness of my own. Throughout, you’ve been a bright and shining influence as you’ve shared not just your teachings but your personal growth, struggles and development. For that, I cant’ thank you enough!

    • Hi SDC, I hope you have a wonderful Canada Day Birthday. Wishing you health, happiness and prosperity as you turn 55. Cheers, Barb

  13. Happy 50th Maria! Looks like you had a wonderful party! I’ve learned so much from reading your blog. The thing that I’ve learned the most is that I still have a lot to learn! I’ve bought your ebooks and webinar. I’m still hoping to get your large paint samples and attend your class. Thanks for sharing with us.

  14. Happy Birthday Maria! In 2005 I moved into a new house in which the finishes had been selected by the builder, including the dreaded pink-beige carpeting. After painting rooms multiple times and finding they still looked awful, I searched the web for answers. It was your blog that explained what colors would and would not work. Thanks to your advice, I finally found colors that unified all the different undertones throughout the house. I have both of your e-books, and of all the many interior design books I own, not one covered the concept of undertones. Thank you for bringing visual harmony to my household.

  15. Happy belated 50th birthday Maria. What fun to be a centennial baby and get to turn 50 as our great country turns 150! It looks to me to be the perfect “match” for a gal who loves a fantastic party. I hope you have a wonderful Canada Day celebration with family and friends.

    I’ve learned so many great lessons from reading your blog all these years that is hard to pick just one. However, if I have to pick one best lesson ….it is to pay very close attention to the details (the undertones of colours & the busyness of tiles/countertops and other fixed elements) and to trust my instincts/stand my ground (if it looks wrong to me …it probably is) and not be swayed by “experts” who don’t understand the “Maria colour system” and timeless approach to design. Reading your blog helped me have the confidence to say no to an interior designer who was pushing a busy mosaic tile backsplash for my kitchen (I wanted and got plain subway) and to white finishes that didn’t match (I got them changed). Thank you so much for so generously sharing your knowledge with all of us.

  16. What I learned from your blog is to believe in yourself. Maria you are brave and fearless putting forth so much of yourself. Yes I am sure much of it comes from experience and vast amounts of knowledge and creativity however when anyone puts themself out to public scrutinity it can difficult not to mention painful. Kudos to you Maria. I applaud your effervescent spirit that is so contagious. Happy happy birthday!

  17. Since following your blog I have finally repainted the inside of my home. I am a real estate agent and love reading your blog and then seeing the design trends in our area. I have suggested to quite a few clients that they need to follow your blog to get an idea of trends, classics. Love reading your blog.

  18. Happy Birthday! I got hooked on your amazing color theory approach to decorating while working on my daughter’s remodel of her home in Minneapolis. (I live near San Francisco so this has involved many trips and too many blizzards.) She had already selected a gorgeous blueish-greenish granite for countertops in the kitchen – including a 12′ island that is truly the heart of the home and the center of the remodel. The granite will also be used in the 2 upstairs bathrooms. For the next several months I have been reining her in from all the expensive mistakes she wanted to make by using colored tile accents in every room. I keep saying, “The blue tones dominate. Make everything else white. You can add lamps and bowls and flowers at the end in any color you want, but all the permanent finishes should be white! (She will use BM simply white for cabinets and trim, BM Calming Cream for walls, and white subway tile with the same undertone.) We’ve been through some rocky moments, but at this point she is on board. I’ll let you know when we see it all together!

    • Sounds beautiful. Don’t forget blue and white ginger jars, they are so amazing in a house with blue! xo